Current Issue

STEM Education News

November 3, 2014

In This Issue:

Afterschool Alliance Surveys Parents on Afterschool Programs and STEM Opportunities

The Afterschool Alliance recently celebrated the 15th annual Lights On Afterschool! The event celebrates thousands of afterschool programs and events nationwide—events that draw attention to the importance of afterschool programs and the positive benefits they provide to students, families and communities. This year, the event comes exactly one week after the Afterschool Alliance released a new household survey of more than 30,000 families, “2014 America After 3 PM.”

While 10 million children currently participate in afterschool programs nationwide, the demand for programs is still far greater than the supply. Parents of another 19.4 million school children report that they would like to enroll their children in such programs if they were available. The report further finds that afterschool programs have high approval ratings (89 percent of parents were satisfied), but large opportunity gaps exist in the demand for afterschool programs, especially amongst low-income, African-American and Hispanic children, due to increased costs and safety.

This year’s survey, for the first time, asked parents about afterschool STEM education opportunities. Overall, parents agreed that afterschool programs do and should offer STEM learning opportunities. Of the parents surveyed, 65 percent believe that afterschool programs can help children develop skills and interest in STEM-related areas. More than half of parents report that STEM opportunities are a very important factor in their selection of an afterschool program, and 85 percent of these parents are satisfied with their program’s current STEM offerings. Sixty-nine percent of parents report that their current afterschool program provides STEM learning opportunities. The majority of parents of high school students in an afterschool program ranked college and career exploration and preparation opportunities as important factors in their selection of a program.

The report includes more information on participation rates and the kinds of activities programs offer young people. For more information, read further details on on Lights On Afterschool and to read the full report, “2014 America After 3 PM.”

 

Albert Einstein Fellowship Program Applications Due November 20

The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship (AEF) Program is now accepting applications for the 2015-2016 Fellowship Year. Program applications are due by 5:00 pm EST, November 20, 2014, and must be submitted through an online application system.

The AEF Program provides a unique opportunity for accomplished K-12 educators in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to serve in the national education arena. Fellows spend 11 months working in a Federal agency or U.S. Congressional office, bringing their extensive classroom knowledge and experience to STEM education program and/or education policy efforts.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • be U.S. citizens,
  • be currently employed full-time in a U.S. public or private elementary or secondary school or school district, and
  • must have taught full-time in a public or private elementary or secondary school for at least five of the last seven years in a STEM discipline.

Federal sponsors have included the Department of Energy (DOE), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The DOE sponsors up to four placements in U.S. Congressional offices.

The AEF Program is managed by the DOE Office of Science, Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists, in collaboration with the Triangle Coalition for STEM Education and the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education.

Information about the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program, including eligibility requirements, program benefits, application requirements, and access to the online application system can be found at http://science.energy.gov/wdts/einstein/.

For any questions, please contact the AEF Program at sc.einstein@science.doe.gov.

 

Technology Student Association and Verizon Invite Student App Challenge Entries

The Verizon Innovative App Challenge invites student teams from across the nation to create novel ideas for the mobile app marketplace. The competition offers middle and high school students the opportunity to apply their STEM knowledge and submit an idea for a mobile technology application that can help solve a societal or community problem. Registration is open through November 24, and eight teams will be awarded “Best in Nation” honors, each earning a $20,000 cash grant for their school.

No app building experience is necessary! Only an app idea is required for submission by a faculty advisor, who guides a team of five to seven students in the conceptualization process. This is the third year for this exciting competition by the Verizon Foundation, in partnership with the Technology Student Association,. Registration and entry instructions are available on the Verizon Innovative App Challenge website.

 

NSB Launches STEM Education Resource Site

Have you ever wondered how many science and engineering graduates attended community college? Or how much students learn in mathematics during their kindergarten year? What about employment trends among women and minority scientists and engineers? A new online resource released by the National Science Board (NSB) last week provides answers to these and many other STEM-related questions. The STEM Education Resource website pulls the latest data from the NSB’s Science and Engineering Indicators report, a comprehensive set of federal data on the nation’s science and engineering research and education. Through interactive charts and maps, NSB makes data, trends and analyses accessible and relevant to anyone seeking such information. The site can be used to inform decision-makers and stakeholders on a wide range of STEM topicss, from student proficiency and STEM degrees to school financing and careers. Access the website at http://www.nsf.gov/nsb/sei/edTool/.

 

After Election 2014: STEM Education

By Jeffrey Mervis, ScienceInsider, 10/22/14

The debut of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in a handful of states and a growing awareness among research universities that they must improve undergraduate instruction are arguably the two biggest recent changes in the U.S. science education landscape. They also embody the political adage of thinking globally and acting locally, a timely message as the Obama administration heads into the homestretch and voters prepare to elect a new Congress.

The last 2 years have provided a vivid reminder that improving U.S. science education will depend at least as much on grassroots efforts as on the federal government. The administration’s biggest gambit—a plan to restructure the $3 billion federal investment in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education—went down in flames after lawmakers from both parties and community leaders denounced it as unwise and poorly designed.

Nobody expects the next Congress to pass any bold new STEM education initiatives. But a hiatus in Washington, D.C., hasn’t hindered state-level progress on NGSS and campus efforts to improve undergraduate science courses. Full article at ScienceInsider